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Traditions and History

Traditions are the customs, rituals, stories and ways of thinking that those in earlier generations hand down to us and we in turn hand down to future generations. Traditions are very important because they help us understand life, who we are, where we fit in our community and world, and how the story of our life fits in the larger stories of our community and world.

At Servite, we are not just part of the story of or our class, but part of the larger 50 year story of our school, the 780 year story of our Order and the 2000 year story of our Church.

In 1957 the Archdiocese of Los Angeles invited the Order Friar Servants of Mary (Servites) in Chicago to come to Orange County to open an all-male Catholic high school in Anaheim.

Father Maurice Gillespie, OSM, arrived in May, 1958 with a small band of Friars as well as equipment, supplies and personnel from St. Philip High School in Chicago. They got an unfinished brick building and 110 boys that would comprise the inaugural freshman class.

When school started in the fall of 1958, Servite was holding classes in borrowed classrooms at St. Philip Benizi Elementary School while the administration worked out of a windowless storage room. The main building was finished in December, 1958 and was dedicated by James Francis Cardinal McIntyre on the Feast of the Seven Holy Fathers, February 12th, 1959. Servite has grown immensely over the years, and today 965 students call themselves Friars.

From the beginning Servite has emphasized developing faith-filled leaders prepared for success in college and life. Servite teaches young men to seek excellence in academics, athletics, the arts and Catholic spirituality. Servite men become leaders in business, medicine, law, non-profits, military and civic service and in the Church.


Credo means “I believe”. Whether Christian, other religious affiliation, agnostic or atheist, life always begins with and requires an act of faith. Credo is the starting point for everything we think and do at Servite. At Servite we believe:

  • In Christ and all He teaches through our Church
  • In ourselves
  • In each other
  • That by working together we can achieve almost anything
  • That all people have the same purpose in life: to achieve happiness by accepting salvation offered through our Lord Jesus Christ
  • That each of our lives is a unique story of a person pursuing his purpose by making the most of the gifts that he has been given by God.
  • That, as a community, each of our individual stories is woven together with and enriched by the stories of the people, organizations and movements with whom we grow

The Crest

The crest of Servite High School dates back more than 750 years to the earliest days of the Servite Order in Florence, Italy. The crest is a black shield outlined in gold, with the letters “S” and “M” superimposed. Atop the shield lies a gold crown with seven points.

The letters “S” and “M” stand for “Order of Servants of Mary” (Servites) referring to the Order of priests and brothers who own Servite High School, and the world-wide community of Servites that also includes sisters and lay-people.

The crown represents Mary’s crowning as the Queen of Heaven. It has seven points representing the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order who were canonized as a group as saints by the Church in the 1800’s.

The formal version of the crest places the shield atop the cross, recognizing the school’s commitment to Christ, the cross and the Church.

When we look at the crests of the Servite Order and specific Servite communities, we can see the traditions and themes that link all of us together throughout the world and through almost 800 years of history.

The first Servite monastery was built in 1245 on top of a 2500ft mountain about 15 miles northwest of Florence, Italy. Known as “Monte Senario”, the monastery still uses the crest consisting of a cross atop a mountain of six boulders with the letter “S” mounted on the cross. The “S” stands for “Servants” as the Servites are known in Italy.

When the Servites returned to Florence later in the 13th century, they built a church (now a basilica), Annunziata, several blocks from the Duomo (cathedral) in downtown Florence. The crest for the Annunziata community consists of an ornate gold “S” atop a royal blue background. The lilies growing up through the “S” represent Mary who, as the stem of the lily, gives life to the flowering blossom, Christ.

As time went on, the Servites elongated the flowering lily and drew them around and down on both sides, forming a “M” for ‘Mary’. The crown symbolizes Mary as the Queen of Heaven and the seven points represent the Seven Holy Founders of the Order. This crest, or variations of it, are commonly used by Servite communities around the world include Servite College (high school) in Perth, Australia and Marian High School in Omaha, Nebraska.

Mascot: Friars

“Friar” comes from the Latin frater, which means “brother”.

The Friar Order Servants of Mary started in the early 1200’s when seven lay merchants decided that they were being called to give up their possessions and live in a community; their lives dedicated to God. They lived as brothers, walking the spiritual path to Christ together, sharing all things.

That sense of community, fraternity, is at the core of what the Servites are all about. All those who take vows to be part of the Servite community are brothers together in the community. Some of them take additional vows as priests.

Because Servite High School emphasizes community and brotherhood, it made sense that the school mascot is the Friar.

The Hut Drill

The Servite football team starts and ends every game with the famous Servite Hut Drill. The purpose of the drill is to emphasize discipline, precision, teamwork and character before and after the game, whether the team wins or loses. The Hut Drill sets the tone for the beginning of the game and brings closure after the end of the game.

The Servite Hut Drill was started in 1962 by Head Coach George Dena. The original Hut Drill finished with two sets of two quarter turns. In the late 1970’s, the finish was changed to the ‘chicken scratch’, two sets of two cleat scrapes on the ground.

When Larry Toner became Head Coach of the Friars in 1989, the team went back to the original quarter turn finish for the Hut Drill. When Troy Thomas became Head Coach in 2005, he consulted alumni and coaches concerning the Hut Drill tradition. The decision was made to combine the original Hut Drill finish with the finish of the dominant football teams of the 80’s. Today the Servite Hut Drill finishes with both the quarter turn and the chicken-scratch.

Motto: Credo Ut Intelligam

“Credo Ut Intelligam” means “I believe so that I may understand.”

We can only make sense out of everything that goes on in our life if we have some kind of belief system by which we organize and understand things. No belief system means no way to organize, understand or make sense of things. Life always begins with and requires an act of belief, of faith. You must believe in order to understand.

Servite is not just about academic success, it is about preparing young men for success in life.

Forming Faith-Filled Leaders

Our mission at Servite is Forming Faith-Filled Leaders. Everything that we do—academics, athletics, arts, activities, campus ministry and community service—is focused on forming our young men into leaders that make a difference in college, their careers, their families and the lives of others.

We focus on leadership because our world needs people in key positions of business, government, the Church, law, medicine and education who create and lead high performance teams that are ethical and moral.

We focus on formation because the overall Servite experience trans-forms boys into young men ready for leadership in college and life.

We focus on faith-filled because our young men can best lead others when they fully understand who they are and the meaning of life, and make Christ the center of their lives.

Freshman Formation Weekend

Freshman Formation Weekend is fast becoming a Servite tradition.

Freshman Formation Weekend kicks off the four-year Servite Formation Program for all students of Servite. All freshmen are required to participate in the three day event that is scheduled for the last weekend in July.

During the weekend each Servite freshman begins his journey to become a Servite man by learning about Servite spirituality, traditions and community. Because Servite is about community and brotherhood, the freshman class is divided into teams of 15 to participate and compete in a variety of academic, artistic and athletic events. Each event teaches and tests the young men as individuals and as teams, challenging them to take the first steps in becoming men and brothers.

Alma Mater

All of you who pass us by,
Wonder there what greatness lie.
All of you who pass us by,
Wonder there what greatness lie.

Know that virtue-branding Friar
Awaits young men with quenchless fire.
If the soul will but believe.
If the soul will but believe.

Thus our crest for all to see,
“To understand, one must believe.”
Thus our crest for all to see,
“To understand, one must believe.”

Wh’er in victory or in Stygian,
Mathematics or religion,
To prevail one must believe.
To prevail one must believe.

Tho’ driven by unsated Friar
To perfection and still higher.
Tho’ driven by unsated Friar
To perfection and still higher.

“Tis but greatness” clarion
Commanding us to carry on.
Thus it is we do agree,
Passerby, we pity thee.

Larry Toner

Salve Regina

Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, holds a special place among those who call themselves Servites. She is the example of the perfect follower of her son, Christ, especially as she says ‘Yes’ to God’s call at the Annunciation and as she suffers, in sorrow, with her son at the foot of His cross.

Servites show their commitment to Mary and the example she gave by closing most of their Masses and many of their prayers with the Salve Regina (in English, Hail Holy Queen).

Salve Regina

Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae:
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules, filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, Advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos
ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis, post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens: O pia: O dulcis Virgo Maria. 

Hail Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve,
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley, of tears.
Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this our exile show unto us the
blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus;
O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.